They encounter some of the most challenging situations, help our students reach their full potential and serve as a support system to meet the emotional needs of students on a day-to-day basis. This month, we join the nation in celebration of Social Workers.

Late last year, Megan Thomas of Cold Spring School was recognized by the Indiana Social Work Association as the 2015 School Social Worker of the Year! Mrs. Thomas has highlighted some of the best work throughout our district: 
 

Posted by Megan Thomas, March 3, 2016

It has been an honor to represent Indiana as the 2015 School Social Worker of the Year! Like many School Social Workers, I love my job! I never know what challenges I will encounter on a daily basis, but I come to school each day prepared to help students, teachers, and families find resources to help them overcome child welfare and mental health barriers and to provide social emotional support. There are days that I leave school feeling like a super hero who helped save the day, and then there are days I leave school feeling overwhelmed and defeated. Thankfully, the superhero days outnumber the bad days!
School Social Workers wear many different capes and have many different superhero powers. I would describe Jeanne Milligan, IPS Social Worker at Eleanor Skillen School 34, as the Kindness Superhero. She leads a team of students and staff members who are dedicated to promoting kindness at their school! They have “Just Be Kind” t-shirts and a “Just Be Kind” choir. They also have over 1300 Acts of Kindness logged for this school year! Jeanne teaches students about kindness through classroom lessons, small group and individual counseling, and schoolwide kindness activities and projects. Jeanne’s students recently participated in the Great Food Challenge during February for Empathy month. Classrooms competed to see who could bring in the most nonperishable food items for their school’s food pantry. Students brought in a total of 618 items, with Kindergarten winning the contest!  Jeanne’s kindness is shared beyond her school as she mentors other school social workers throughout the district.
I would also describe:
  • Kristie Eaton with Kaleidoscope as the crisis support superhero,
  • Michele Whaley at James A. Garfield School 31 and Pearle Washington at Paul I. Miller School 114 as bully prevention superheroes,
  • Jane Zobel at William McKinley School 39 as the peace-maker superhero,
  • Berni Molson at School George Washington Carver School 87 as the community resource superhero,
  • Yvonne Cannon-Hollins at George S. Buck School 94 as the child advocate superhero,
  • Suzanne Wakefield at Francis Bellamy School 102 as the early childhood development superhero,
  • Donna Hendley at Rousseau McClellan School 91 as the graduation plan superhero,
  • Mario Salinas as the ENL superhero,
  • Dori Lipschultz as the middle school superhero,
  • and Regina Williams as the high school superhero!

This list only highlights a few of my colleagues who are School Social Work Superheroes! Every School Social Worker in IPS is a Superhero!!

Maya Angelou once said “I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” It is a privilege to work with so many heroes who each and every day are intent on making a difference in the lives of students, families, and staff members. Happy School Social Work week!